At the closing session of Online Information, a new conference chair for the 2010 conference was announced. Adrian Dale, the current chair, announced his successor, Stephen Dale. Although they share a surnane, they are not related. According to the official press release, Stephen Dale believes that “the social web is opening up a new era for massive collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovation,” which I’m assuming will be major themes for the 2010 conference.
I’ve been noticing, over the past few years, a decline in delegates from Asian countries. Apparently Incisive Media, producer of the Online Information conference, has noticed the same thing. So they’ve decided to take the conference, or a version of it at least, to Asia. Online Information Asia-Pacific will be held in Hong Kong, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, on March 23-24, 2011. Since that’s over a year away, it gives people lots of time to think about exhibiting and presenting.
It’s unusual to listen to a vendor presentation and realize that the speaker isn’t promoting her product, isn’t giving a sales pitch, and is raising questions that we should all be thinking about. The New Metrics and Services for Delivering Value session was one of these. The final speaker was Mary Sauer-Games, VP, Higher Education Publishing for ProQuest, who said, “People don’t search anymore.” She also asked, somewhat rhetorically, how we can measure value. Next generation databases include increased use of PDFs and new types of content such as images, maps, audio, video and interactive). There’s more emphasis on browsing and more post-search manipulation. Students want to comment on what they’ve found in the databases and store citations in their personal workspace. ProQuest research into user behavior shows that there is more browsing and less searching.
The new value indicators all comes down to user satisfaction, concluded Sauer-Games, with the whole issue of metrics raising lots of questions that, so far, haven’t been answered.
Does our future lie in being open? Charlene Li, Thursday’s keynote speaker certainly thinks so. Her talk, on the impact of social media in your organization, started with the story of David Carroll, a Canadian musician whose guitar was broken by United Airlines baggage handlers. He wrote a song about the experience, made a music video, and put it up on YouTube. It quickly went viral, much to the dismay of United, one presumes. To Li, this illustrates the importance of social media and the clout of our culture of sharing. “We must have the confidence to let go, to give up the need to be in control,” she said.
She then listed the elements of openness as explaining, updating, conversing, open mic, and platform. The new decision making model is distributed rather than the old command and control model. Push out decision making to staff. Think open source in decision making.
How to get started in being an open leader? Start with defining your open strategy. You can’t just be a brand, Li told us, you must be in the conversation. Then you should understand the benefits of openness. Facebook fans, for example, only have value if they do something. Next build trust and manage risks, orchestrate openness, and find and nurture open leaders. Finally plan to fail well.
Li ended by saying that open leaders nurture curiosity and are humble. They should hold openness accountable and forgive failure.
If by “fizzies”, you thought I meant drinks, then my headline is misleading. Indeed, several vendors had mini-drinks parties on their stands and those sometimes involved champagne. No, what I had in mind was German information companies whose names begin with FIZ. Neither FIZ Chemie Berlin nor FIZ Karlsruhe chose to come to the U.K. to exhibit this year. I confess I missed catching up with them, but it may be indicative of the state of the industry that the FIZzies didn’t find it cost-effective to make the journey.
Other German companies on the exhibit floor included Springer, which as you have probably seen from other blog posts introduced its SpringerMaterials at the show. For a short time, it appeared that we would also have news of Springer’s being acquired by Informa, but Informa has now dropped its efforts to buy Springer.
The other German company whose stand I visited was Weitkamper Technology, a very interesting search engine technology, HitEngine. Its XSEARCH technologies include a clustering engine, facet navigation, search suggestions, and linguistic analysis.
What does a racecar have to do with disambiguation? I have no idea, but I do regret being talked into climbing into the racecar simulator at the Thomson Reuters stand. Luckily, it was very early and no one except a few Thomson Reuters staff witnessed my abysmal driving on the race track. Yes, I drove off the track several times, went into a spin, and generally embarrassed myself. No, there is no photo to accompany this blog post. The “adventure” made me want to change my name so no one would associate me with such poor driving skills.
Wait, maybe that was the tie-in with disambiguation of author names. It’s a big problem, trying to determine if authors with similar names are, in fact, the same person, particularly when they have changed institutional affiliations. Thomson Reuters and Nature Publishing Group convened the first Name Identifier Summit last month with a follow-up meeting occurring during Online Information. Accurate identification of researchers and their work is particularly important as we move to e-science. Thus far, there are 21 organizations participating in this initiative, including learned societies, libraries, open access publishers, and for-profit companies.
This collaboration, it is hoped, will create an open, independent identification system for scholarly authors.
I walked past the CMS Watch stand yesterday (it’s right in front of Theatre A) and noticed a large poster on the wall that was a “Vendor Map” of the content technology industry. It was fascinating to see a vendor map that resembled a London tube map. You too can see it at the stand, and pick up a smaller copy (A4-sized), or simply view it here.
I ran into Abe Lederman in the Exhibit Hall yesterday. Although his company, Deep Web Technologies, is not exhibiting, he did ask me if I could help spread the word about a contest Deep Web is running. Here are the details, direct from Abe:
Deep Web Technologies, is sponsoring a contest. (http://federatedsearchblog.com/2009/10/21/broader-contest-bigger-prizes/) We’re in the federated search market, which is of interest to libraries, corporate researchers, and others interested in accessing the “Deep Web,” beyond what Google can find. Contest submissions are due by 12/15 and, even though we are giving $1,000 to the top winner, we have few submissions.
Best of luck, everybody!